The Leftover Bits 22/4/15: MIT Funds Core Dev, Mt. Gox Developments, Ripple Freezes Funds

Core Developers Join MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative


Gavin Andresen and other leading Bitcoin Core developers are joining the MIT Digital Currency Initiative. The Bitcoin Foundation previously served as the primary funding source for Bitcoin Core development.

We covered the Bitcoin Foundation’s serious financial issues, and we were told by former board member Olivier Janssens that the Core developer’s Paychecks had already stopped coming in. He had offered to fund Core development until a solution was found, and that solution seems to have presented itself with the MIT Digital Currency Initiative.

Andresen is careful to point out that the MIT program would not influence development decisions, just as he claims the Bitcoin Foundation never did. Nevertheless, the continuing centralized nature of Bitcoin Core development funding is sure to worry some.  The MIT Digital Currency Initiative director, Brian Forde was quoted in CoinDesk as saying that he hopes additional educational institutions will become involved in the project, including international ones.

“Our interest is not to make this a US-only effort. We’ve been reaching out to international universities to incorporate them[.]”

In addition to Andresen, Wladimir van der Laan and Cory Fields will also be moving to the MIT Digital Currency Initiative.

Claims Process For Mt. Gox Customers Opens

Mtgox Investigation

Are you still hoping to recoup some of your losses from the Mt. Gox collapse last year? Well, you might want to go login to your account then. The official trustee of the Mt. Gox bankruptcy case, along with bitcoin exchange Kraken, who has been assigned to help in the process, is officially accepting claims by former Gox customers.

Users are asked to log in to their accounts and begin filling out the forums now, alternatively, users can login to Kraken accounts and complete the process from there. Users have until May 29th to send in the forums, which include if the customers would like a payout in Bitcoin or Fiat.

Despite the question, Bitcoin payouts are not yet confirmed, but it is being looked into and is a real possibility. While no official announcement has been made, it is likely that this would be the first time a bankruptcy settlement is paid in the digital currency.

Instructions on how to file a claim can be found here.

Ripple Freezes Former Creator’s Account

One of the selling points of digital currencies is supposed to be that they are free from central institutions that have control over your money. The entire point, to a lot of people, is to gain control of their finances over the banks and other institutions that have been exerting control over other people’s money for decades (or arguably, centuries).

So when news came out that Ripple, with the help of gateway provider (and bitcoin exchange) Bitstamp has frozen over a million dollars worth of former Ripple co-founder Jed McCaleb, it has caused quite a stir.

Ripple works a bit different than most other digital or cryptocurrencies. It works with a system of IOUs and gateways to represent assets other than XRP. It was the Bitstamp gateway that allowed Ripple to lock out Jed McCaleb’s funds. Bitcoin Magazine has a more complete explanation on how Ripple works and it is worth a read.

According to the Bitcoin Magazine article, the dispute resulted in the freezing then unfreezing of funds and now Bitstamp is unsure where the money should go. Reportedly, they have filed a lawsuit against both parties, with the aim of having the court determine who should be awarded the money. That case could set a precedent for industry.

Jed McCaleb left Ripple to launch his own currency called Stellar. Reportedly, some of his XRP was used to purchase Stellar.

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